Our View: Wisconsin no longer a top 10“We’re number 11, we’re number 11" — that’s the joyful battle cry of Wisconsin taxpayers! Wisconsin has finally achieved a goal taxpayers and politicians have wanted for a long time — to get out of the top 10 bracket of most-taxed states.
By: Editorial staff, Hudson Star-Observer
“We’re number 11, we’re number 11 — that’s the joyful battle cry of Wisconsin taxpayers!
Wisconsin has finally achieved a goal taxpayers and politicians have wanted for a long time — to get out of the top 10 bracket of most-taxed states.
Recently released U.S. Census Bureau figures show that in 2006, Wisconsin dropped to No. 11 in the category of the most state and local taxes.
In 2004, Wisconsin was ranked No. 5 and fell to No. 7 in 2005.
Before everyone gets too excited, however, keep in mind that taxes have not dropped in Wisconsin — in fact, taxes have actually increased here in the past year. The Wisconsin Taxpayer’s Alliance analysis showed that taxes, as a share of income, actually went up from 12.1 percent to 12.3 percent.
The reason Wisconsin fell out of the Top 10 was because of changes in other states, primarily Louisiana, New Mexico and New Jersey. They all saw their rankings jump, primarily due to higher tax burdens there. Louisiana went up nine places.
But, it’s better to be moving down the list rather than the opposite direction. For many years Wisconsin has had the reputation of being one of the nation’s mostly highly taxed states. The tax burden is still significant, but 11 is better than 7 or 5.
In commenting on the tax situation, our local State Sen. Sheila Harsdorf said Wisconsin needs to pay attention as to why the state’s ranking dropped.
“I think it is important to realize we got here because other states turned to increasing taxes, while we’ve been successful in blocking tax increases,” said Harsdorf. She added that in current economic times people are struggling, and increasing taxes would only take more money out of the local economies.
The next critical time for Wisconsin taxpayers comes during the next legislative session in January.
Our local State Rep. Kitty Rhoades, who is co-chair of the powerful Joint Finance Committee, Rhoades predicts the economy will take center stage.
“I think the focus will be on the economy if things continue the way they are now,” Rhoades said. “I actually think right now people are more concerned about keeping their jobs and about bringing more jobs into the state.”
She also thinks that health care reform will be a hot topic, but she doesn’t believe the Democratic state-funded universal health care program is what Wisconsinites want.
“People are looking for reform, not replacement,” she said, adding that the cost of the universal health-care program will be prohibitive.
In the meantime, we’ll bask in the cozy position of being No. 11!